Date: 08 November 2021
Traveller Movement responds to Home Office’s failure to publish ‘stop-and-search’ data
The Home Office’s failure to publish its annual ‘stop-and-search’ figures reflects a longstanding failure to address institutional racism within the systems designed to protect. Though the Home Office cited a “record level of data” as the reason for its delayed reporting; the Traveller Movement believes, increasing ethnic disparities are being hidden from scrutiny for political reasons.
The convenient timing of this “record” volume of data, considering the government’s current efforts to pass the new Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, is a cause for concern. Indeed, as increasingly punitive legislation makes its way through Parliament, the government seeks to avoid scrutiny on the ethnic inequalities which continue to pervade the UK. Clauses 62-64 of the Bill, regarding ‘unauthorised encampments’ and the criminalisation of trespass, specifically target Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller people, and will further exacerbate ethnic disparities within the criminal justice system.
Earlier this year, the government announced its intention to permanently relax the conditions required for the section 60 stop-and-search powers, demonstrating once again a continual failure to protect the legal and civil rights of ethnic minorities. The previous year’s statistics revealed that ethnic minorities were far more likely than White British people to be stopped and searched. Black people faced a rate of 54 stop-and-searches for every 1000 people in comparison to 6 for every 1000 White people. The previous data series does not include Roma as a specific ethnic category. Coupled with concerns around cultural awareness within public institutions, along with distrust of institutions and reluctance to ‘come out’ as GRT on the part of community members, it is likely that the data on Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller people remains an underestimate. It is vital that police forces, and all public sector bodies, implement an 18+1 ethnic monitoring regime to ensure that accurate and robust data is collected.
Traveller Movement CEO Yvonne MacNamara said
“The delayed release of current stop-and-search statistics is a transparent attempt by the Home Office to evade criticism of ever-increasing ethnic inequalities and institutional racism within the criminal justice system, as well as to ensure a smooth passing through Parliament of the regressive Policing Bill. The Traveller Movement calls upon the Home Office to rectify this unacceptable failure and release the withheld data immediately, and to work in good faith with sector organisations to ensure that the every police force implements an 18+1 ethnic monitoring regime, as had been agreed in 2020”
Greg Sproston, Policy & Campaigns Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
T: +44 7481 477229 W: /
* The Traveller Movement (TM) is a national community development policy and voice charity who campaign against discrimination, promote inclusion, participation and community engagement for the Irish Traveller and Gypsy communities in Britain. TM is proud to work in partnership with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities together with service providers and policy makers across the UK to better promote social inclusion and community cohesion. Visit website here: /